Marriage Retreat at Whistler’s Four Seasons Resort

Over Willie’s birthday weekend we had the opportunity to make our 3rd trip to Whistler with our church. Here are a few pictures…

Lunch on the way up with Kaases and Hawkinsons

Willie and Steph up at Whistler

Back side of the Four Seasons

Lunch with friends

More friends at lunch in Whistler Village

Willie and Keith inhaled an insane amount of nachos (all of it!)

At dinner with long-time friends

With many Olympic sights around Whistler removed, we made our way off the beaten path to the Whistler Sliding Centre.

A view down the luge track from the ending point where the athletes climbed out and did interviews.

Memorial for Georgian luger - along with the wall that was quickly erected to prevent further incidents at this spot.

Official room of some sort

Willie and Steph by the results board up at the end of the race. (The finish line was actually at the bottom of the hill.)

Great Wolf Lodge family mini-vacation

More photos of our overnight at Great Wolf.

Bekah Boo

Our 'family suite'

Climbing up into the fort to access some mild slides seemed reasonable with Jordan...

Until we found ourselves in a deluge. Every 3-5 minutes, 10,000 gallons.

The girls enjoyed riding the larger slides with Daddy. This was a 60 foot tall slide called the Howling Tornado.

Bekah and good friends Molly and Mattie whose family we were blessed to enjoy the trip with.

Willie and Jordan on opposite sides of a waterfall.

Ashley relaxing in the wave pool between waves

The GIRLS ūüôā

Willie, Bekah, Ashley and friend Mattie

Bekah and a new friend in the wave pool.

So thankful for a little fun, relaxing time away together.

His Glorious Creation on Christmas Day

Bow Hill Rest Area

Bow Hill Rest Area

I-5

I-5

Bow Hill/Samish area

Bow Hill/Samish area

Snow-capped majesty

Snow-capped majesty

12-24-08-christmas-day-052

Entering Bellingham

Entering Bellingham

Entering Ferndale

Entering Ferndale

Approaching the frozen Nooksack River

Approaching the frozen Nooksack River

What an awesome drive…

Weather update

Wow! We’ve gotten hammered, and winter has just begun. We’ve had snow on the ground for 10 days now, and more is forcast for Christmas Eve. It definitely looks like a mountain retreat around here, with areas that were cleared a few days ago now sporting 10 inches of snow on them!

Our driveway Sunday evening

Our driveway Sunday evening

Our neighborhood at noon today. Willie had just driven the car to the main street for me - I had gotten stuck in the driveway.

Our neighborhood at noon today. Willie had just driven the car to the main street for me - I had gotten stuck in the driveway.

The view of our neighbor's house as we backed out of the driveway. This is a TON of snow for our area.

The view of our neighbor's house as we backed out of the driveway. This is a TON of snow for our area.

Midwest trip: July 3, Day 14

Well, I’m almost done posting about our trip – what a bummer. It’s been so fun to relive it…

We left Chicago the morning of the 3rd at 10:00 with our destination for the day being Vicksburg, MI – just outside of Kalamazoo; 171 miles away. Our friends from Chicago were heading to her parents’ house¬†on Indian Lake for the 4th and we accepted the invitation to join them for the festivities and arrive home a day later than first planned. However, we didn’t consider¬†the traffic patterns of the Great Lake area or that many people would be getting away early for a long weekend. The traffic was horrendous and what should have been a 3 hour trip took us SIX; so we didn’t arrive until 5pm local time (Eastern). We didn’t even realize we would be passing into the 4th timezone until we arrived there. However, it was fun to then be able to say we’d traveled through¬†14 states and all 4 timezones! Now, that is a roadtrip!!

We stayed at the Nazarene Camp and Conference Center across from Heidi’s folks’ house. The guys went to get fishing licenses while the ladies took the kids to the park. Jordan had a great time playing soccer, while the youngest Ellis kiddo, Jeremy, jumped from a toy and hurt his foot. Following dinner, the guys went out fishing in the boat while¬†Heidi, myself,¬†and¬†the kids fished off the dock,¬†talked, and read.

 

Heidi’s brother (Darren), Wayne, Cole, and Willie head out on Indian Lake

 

Heidi and Ashley try for some fish – no luck

Midwest trip: July 2, Day 14

We went into Chicago today, and I was so psyched!

Despite deciding ahead of time that I really wanted to see the Field Museum (MIL great up very near it, for one), we all felt ‘museumed out’ and opted for an outdoor day. We started our downtown experience at a big McDonald’s¬†which had an escalator and a walking history of McD’s inside of it! We didn’t eat here, but instead went across the street to Rainforest Cafe for brunch.

From here, our RFC waitress had suggested Navy Pier so we headed there. We found a postcard that made the Pier look so calm, which wasn’t our experience. The traffic and tolls just to get into Chicago were enough for me to realize that I didn’t miss city life!! After seeing the huge and very cool looking ferris wheel, we got parked and headed out. Our experience was that of a truly windy city, hot, filled with lots of day camp kids. There were stores, but other than that not a whole lot for us to see. Dragging Jordan through crowds where stuff was blowing in his eyes was not very pleasant. We ended up getting ice cream at McDonald’s and heading back to the car – just under our free 1 hour of parking.

The ice cream bunch

Off to the Magnificient Mile – yay! Then the whining, fits, and complaining kicked in and quickly the fun faded. At one point, we started back to the hotel it got so bad. Once attitudes were checked, we started our Mag. Mile experience. First, Hershey’s Store, then it was on to the place Bekah had so long looked forward to: American Girl Place. It took her 1-1/2 hours, but she eventually picked a doll ‘just like her’. Ashley trudged along with Bekah and me for about an hour of it before returning to the Willie and Jordan who were on the main floor playing with GameBoys they had checked out from the front desk – seriously!!

Bekah at Hershey’s Chicago

Happy Shopper

Outside of American Girl Place

We look forward to seeing the Kit movie when it comes out.

Following AGP, we embarked on a mission to find something for Ashley. “Jewelry or bags” – oh, dear. The girls took on this mission while they boys took it easy in the LEGO store and game store. We searched for hours and never found anything she wanted. (Shopping with her just about drives me crazy. Somehow she’s combined my traits in an awful way: price conscious, unable to make up her mind, and uncomfortable asking for anything.)

Back to the hotel for a swim. We were exhausted. I actually left the pool to go back to the room and nap before the kids came back for baths.

My opinion of Chicago has greatly changed. It is not a place to drag your disabled son around, and I may not recommend it as a family city at all. I have, however, heard of many adults having a great time there with friends… Maybe we’ll try that someday.

Midwest trip: July 1, Day 13

We left Springfield this morning, dropping a goodie/thank you bag by Gammy & Pa’s on our way out of town.

Our destination for today was Chicago’s Hilton Suites Oakbrook Terrace, 499.92 miles away – 8 hours 1 minute driving time. (It was kind of funny that the hotel was located on Drury Lane. Made us think of Shrek: Do you know the Muffin Man? The Muffin Man? Who lives on Drury Lane?)

Willie & the kids head toward the Arch

Willie & the kids head toward the Arch

Attraction for the day was the St. Louis Arch – Gateway to the West. I couldn’t wait to see this sight; what a piece of history! It was gorgeous. Once we were into St. Louis, trying to follow the GPS’s directions to the parking was more than a little challenging! Roads were closed all over the place due to flooding of the riverfront streets themselves. It was neat to drive along the cobblestone streets. Finally, we¬†found a parking lot¬†and¬†walked through¬†a park, along a lake and near the Mississippi River to reach the base of the Arch.¬†There was a big, slow line for the security checkpoint before we entered¬†the Museum of Western Expansion. Bekah threw a nice little fit while we were in there, tossing her sunglasses on the ground – then forgetting them. I have come to the point that I will not clean up her messes when she chooses to throw a fit!

Arch of Westward Expansion

Arch of Westward Expansion

The museum was very beautiful; full of stuffed replicas and interactive displays. It was particularly interesting to me that there were no labels on actual artifacts so they could be viewed for what they were.

Covered wagon within Museum

Covered wagon within Museum

Wow...

Wow...

It was very evident that the Mississippi was very high and my curiosity led me to ask a park ranger just how high the River was… TWELVE feet above normal, just a couple feet below the “Hundred Year Flood” of 1993.

“No Parking” signs were just barely visible, and street lights lined what must typically have been a pretty riverwalk.

The Mighty Miss...

The Mighty Miss...

No Parking?!

No Parking?!

On to Chicago – which I was super excited to reach!! I had an idealistic view of Chicago and couldn’t wait to get there. (Although I very rarely watch Oprah, there was something about her show that made Chicago seem very appealing to me.)

One of the purposes for our trip was to visit our friends, the Ellises, who had moved to Chicago 2 years ago after being the music ministers at our ‘old’ church – Aurora Nazarene. What a fun reunion at Giordano’s Pizzeria! It was so good to see Wayne, Heidi and the kids. We all went back to the hotel so the adults could chat and the kids could swim. Yay! Jordan was very brave and went into the water without an adult.

Caitlyn, Cole, Jeremy & Ashley

Caitlyn, Cole, Jeremy & Ashley

Bekah jumps at her comfort level

Bekah jumps at her comfort level

Go Jordan!

Go Jordan!

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